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Biennale pavilion looks at architectural battle

Mar 22,2017
Korean Pavilion’s homecoming exhibition from the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale is currently being held at the Arko Art Center in central Seoul. [ARKO]
After wrapping up its run at the Venice Architecture Biennale held from May through to November last year, the Korean Pavilion has returned to Korea and is holding a homecoming exhibition at the Arko Art Center in central Seoul.

Over the course of 163 days in Venice, Italy, about 250,000 visitors are said to have visited the Korean Pavilion, which was exhibiting architectural materials about the so-called “FAR (Floor Area Ratio) Game” that Korean architects constantly play in order to create a living space in the hyper-dense urban environment, according to the Arts Council Korea, the organizer.

When Alejandro Aravena, curator and director of last year’s architecture biennale proposed “Reporting from the Front” as the event’s theme, Kim Sung-hong, the artistic director and the head curator of the Korean Pavilion, said he immediately thought about the FAR Game, which has been “a real battle being waged on Korea’s architectural front lines.”

“The fact is that 99 percent of Korean architects must play the game in order to survive. An architect rarely gets a commission unless they can convince clients that their design proposal has a larger rentable floor area than their competitor’s,” he said.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors can witness how architects play the FAR Game by comparing the before and after models, along with reading, photograph and video materials.

The homecoming exhibit is exactly the same as the Venice’s Korean Pavilion - however, there’s an additional exhibition that features 35 video screens where visitors can sit down and listen to each participating architect discuss their work in detail.

“For even the general visitors to easily understand this exhibition and have quality time as well, I have asked the participating architects to each present a video file to explain in their own words what their work is about,” said Kim. “After looking around the main hall, visitors can come upstairs and sit down in front of the screen of an architect they found interesting and want to known more about.”

During the homecoming exhibition, there will be two roundtable talks where some of the participating architects will hold talks together with the visitors about issues involving the FAR Game. The first talk will be held at 11 a.m. on April 8 and the second one at 7 p.m. on April 21.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

The exhibition which began from March 3 will run through to May 7. Admission is free. For more information, visit art.arko.or.kr or call (02) 760-4604.